Tantrum in the West Wing
2 hours ago
There is something profoundly un-American about demanding that people give up cherished, or even uncherished beliefs just because they don't comport with science.One commentator on the Coyne site countered with this bit from a letter to Thomas Jefferson, by US founding father John Adams:
They all believe that great Principle which has produced this boundless universe, Newton's universe and Herschell's universe, came down to this little ball, to be spit on by the Jews; And until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world.With due consideration for the context [the science is a bit outmoded, there might be a hint of anti-Semitism, and the term 'blasphemy' presupposes religious belief] it's a great response.
The young men of the Clover Leaf Club pinned not their faith to the graces of person as much as they did to its prowess, its achievements in hand-to-hand conflicts, and its preservation from the legal duress that constantly menaced it. The member of the association who would bind a ... maiden to his conquering chariot scorned to employ Beau Brummel airs. They were not considered honorable methods of warfare. The swelling biceps, the coat straining at its buttons over the chest, the air of conscious conviction of the super-eminence of the male in the cosmology of creation, even a calm display of bow legs as subduing and enchanting agents in the gentle tourneys of Cupid - these were the approved arms and ammunition of the Clover Leaf gallants.Not really that much like my gym, where the female clientele possibly outnumber the male, and where I receive a modicum of low-key, scientifically based personal training in a thoroughly professional atmosphere, but I can't help but be aware, given the sexual being I am, of the underlying sexual nature of all that whipping up of testosterone, the hope of gaining some slight advantage in the gentle tourneys of Cupid. My own hopes in such an arena, are of course, pathetic as well as quite possibly illegitimate. I was reminded of this, as if I needed it, when my personal trainer informed me that the stretching routines she taught me would come in handy in everyday life - 'for example, when you want to lift up your grandchildren'. So much for Clover Leaf gallantry. She's a kind and very likeable girl, but I'd never mentioned to her that I had grandchildren, which I don't, or even children, which I don't. I suppose one could do worse, though, than to be thought of as a kindly doting grandad. It doesn't help of course to have a body like hairy blancmange.
His vessels were purposely registered in Honduras and Panama, countries beyond the IWC's membership, and plundered protected waters, taking whatever whales they met, 'be they endangered species or newborns'. Only when Norway publicized his actions - and after the Peruvian navy and air force had opened fire on his ships for hunting whales within their territorial waters - was Onassis forced to stop his slaughter, finding it more financially viable to sell his fleet to the Japanese.A few other random titbits:
... Abbott must know that if the climate scientists are right, there is a chance that the very future of the Earth is in peril.Yes, I know, we must make allowances for hyperbole, and we should be kind and take 'the Earth' to mean 'the biosphere', but this sort of stuff has a kind of alarmist populism about it that really grates with me. Particularly because so many kids are parroting it. Sure it gets them in, but it also scares them needlessly. Let's get the message in proportion. The truth is alarming enough as it is, and of course a much more useful guide to action.
The BioLogos Foundation explores, promotes and celebrates the integration of science and Christian faith.So, it has no interest in any other faith, and it has no interest in a dialogue with those who can't clearly see any positive value in Christian faith. So it's not about promoting dialogue between religion and science generally [that was my mistake], and it would naturally tend to take the view, not only that science can't explain everything, but that science can't explain anything really important, because Christianity covers all the really important stuff.
... it is important... for scientists to emphasize that uncertainty is central to science, and advocacy is disruptive of it. When a scientist becomes an advocate, he loses for himself the power to use scientific discipline to discern reality.Reading this makes me think of the process of philosophical discourse, as it has occurred through the ages. Some of this discourse has been about the nature of reality, and this is largely the province of science today. There has also been much discourse about how we should live - the fields of moral and political philosophy. Philosophers, or thinkers generally, have proposed different ethical approaches, consequentialist or deontological or whatever, and defended their position against critiques. Often they strengthen their argument though critical conversation. Are they not advocates? Many people - Robert Hughes being one I remember -have said that arguing is the best way to learn, to develop your ideas. Scientists argue vehemently and healthily, for the most part, about their interpretations of reality - string theory, the multiverse, the nature of time even. Some are fierce advocates for particular positions, but are guided by the results nonetheless. Science can and does help us with developing ethical systems by contributing to the ongoing understanding of what we are, and how we best thrive as highly socialized but individual creatures. The idea that you can't derive an ought from an is has always struck me as false - we do it all the time.